Review Detail

Adorable dogs and books
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Madeline is a struggling reader. While others around her are getting stars from their teacher, she gets hearts that say "keep trying". This has caused her to declare that she "hates" reading. Her mother and teacher are supportive, but Madeline feels that people are giggling at her when she makes mistakes and is very stubborn. When her mother takes her to the library one day, the librarian Mrs. Dimple introduces her to Bonnie, a beautiful white dog who is trained to read with children. Bonnie is snuggly and nonjudgmental, and reads with Madeline every Saturday. Eventually, Madeline makes some progress, but is sad when Bonnie doesn't show up at the library. It turns out that Bonnie has a big surprise for Madeline, and Madeline finally gets her star.
Good Points
Small children can be extremely obstinate, so while I was not pleased that Madeline was shown crossing her arms and making grumpy faces, it's certainly a true-to-life reaction to which many children will relate. A large number of picture books celebrate the love of reading, and for children who struggle with comprehension, these must be difficult.

The illustrations in this are absolutely beautiful, and Bonnie's rendering makes me want to reach out and stroke her soft fur! Madeline's library looks like such a cozy, comfortable place to read, with low bookshelves and comfortable furniture. The soft colors are soothing as well.

Dogs are a great help when dealing with young children's difficulties, so Madeline Finn is a great book to pair with Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing, Meshon's The Best Days Are Dog Days or Mitchell's Toby. This also somehow seemed like it should have been a Berenstain book-- The Berenstain Bears and the Trouble with Reading or something like that, only with much better pictures!
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